The Lone Star State has been approved to receive $1.4 billion from the federal government to provide additional $300 per week unemployment benefits, according to a release from Governor Greg Abbott.
Abbott directed the Texas Workforce Commission to apply for the funding earlier in the week.
“I thank the Trump administration for swiftly granting these funds to help Texans who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Abbott. “These funds will help Texans in need support their families as we work to revitalize the economy and get Texans back to work.”
The funds have been granted through President Trump’s memorandum signed on August 8 that offered a sort of extension to the COVID-19 unemployment benefits originally approved through the CARES Act, which expired in July.
With Republicans and Democrats in a gridlock over negotiations for an extension, Trump’s order provided for a $300 per week extension of benefits through December 27.
Federal funding for the extension was to come through $44 billion out of the Disaster Relief Fund, which would leave $25 billion for other emergency expenses.
Under the president’s memorandum, the total extension provided would actually be $400 per week, with $300 coming from the federal government and state governments to be required to match the grant with the other $100, which could come from other unspent CARES Act funds in the state’s possession.
Guidance released from the Department of Labor on August 12 indicated that states could also apply for the $300 boost, provided that the funds go to unemployment applicants who have already been approved to receive a minimum of $100 per week under existing state programs.
“For the $300 per week benefit, [the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)] will fund the entire amount and states may choose to simply satisfy the 25 percent state match, without allocating additional state funds, with the state funding used to pay regular state [Unemployment Insurance program] unemployment benefits,” said the agency.
The $1.4 billion in funding approved for Texas will not require the state to allocate additional funds for the extension.
Other states to be approved for funding under Trump’s program include Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, New Mexico, Colorado, Missouri, Utah, Montana, Oklahoma, Idaho, Maryland, Michigan, and Kentucky.
Unemployment metrics released on Friday show that 31,000 Texas jobs were added in July, bringing the state’s unemployment rate to 8 percent.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.